CAUTION !! Misleading budget battery and lumen claims

J_C

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
309
If you are just a causal user and total darkness doesn't matter, sure, buy junk.

Otherwise, some people really need their light to work. It doesn't need to be as bright as the sun, doesn't need to be cheaper than lunch, but needs to work every single time without fail.
 
Last edited:

mcnair55

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
4,448
Location
North Wales UK
I have almost stopped buying expensive lights, you can mod a $20 light from DX or a similar site to blow away any stock light of a similar cross-section. Manufacturers just don't have access to better material than we do. Actually it is the opposite, I had an XM-L2 version TN-31 way before thrunite put one out.

I just think that you are paying for a name now days. When a surefire light costs almost $400 USD and I can build a light that is brighter for $45 and it can use rechargeable cells, that is just bad markup. Some manufacturers don't even use direct copper mounted MPCBs for Cree leds that have a built in heat sink pad, Really?

I also agree that doing you research is important I have been burned by a light that is built so bad that I can't even work with it, but it was also very cheap, so who cares?


You have obviously no idea of mark up and what it caters for and how it is accounted for in the business model.:rolleyes:
 

J_C

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
309
I also agree that doing you research is important I have been burned by a light that is built so bad that I can't even work with it, but it was also very cheap, so who cares?

Most people care. Most people don't think "It was cheap so I don't care.". Instead they think "If I didn't really need light then I wouldn't be holding a flashlight."

To most people a light isn't a science project or contest for the most lumens, it is an everyday essential piece of equipment that doesn't need to break records but does need to work every time without fussing over the details. That's what they pay a major brand for, the attention to detail and testing, so they don't have to spend their own valuable time on such things just to use a flashlight... a gadget that has been around for a century. Your concerns may be different but manufacturers have to target the larger audience, the customer base they want to reach.
 
Last edited:

Rosoku Chikara

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
606
Location
Niigata, Japan
...but does need to work every time without fussing over the details...<snip> (emphasis added)

I think it may be well worth noting here, that even the same users can have a least two different types of "needs" when it comes to needing a flashlight.

[I'll grant you that others may (and no doubt do) think differently. But, I believe that most of the people I know would largely agree with the following reasoning.]

1) Critical Need

If I am going camping, or especially light weight backpacking, then I have a "critical need" for a flashlight. If I am simply traveling by car* to some campgrounds, then this need becomes far less critical. But, you still do want a flashlight that "works every time."

[*The difference with traveling by car is, of course, the fact that, if you can go there by car, you are never all that far from civilization (where you can buy another flashlight), and weight is far less of an issue, so you can carry more back-up flashlights with you, when you are on such a camping trip.]

Anyway, if I have a "critical need" for a flashlight, then I will want to carry a very good (often means "expensive") flashlight. The further from civilization, the longer I will be out there, and the more potentially life threatening the environment; then the "better" the flashlight I want to take with me. Even after I have the best flashlight that I can afford, I still want to take at least another (usually smaller, and more lightweight) flashlight as an emergency back-up flashlight, since even "the best" flashlights can (and do) fail. But, in all such "critical need" situations, you will prefer to carry the most reliable flashlights you can afford.

2) Casual Need

If I am going out in the dark to look for something that I may have left in the car, then I would say that I only have a "casual need" for a flashlight. The colder it is, or the "wetter" the weather is, the more annoyed I am going to be if my flashlight fails. But, it is not a life or death matter. If I am unlucky enough to have my flashlight fail on me, I can simply go back to the house and grab another.

For such "casual needs" I find that a $4.00 Sipik SK68 clone works just fine. They are not 100% reliable (no flashlight is), but in my experience they are at least 99.9% and probably even 99.99% reliable. You wouldn't want to drown one underwater, but they perform fine in normal wet conditions such a rain. (If the zoom function on yours uses a metal tensioning ring, you should replace it with an O-ring.)

While there is nothing wrong with choosing to own only the highest quality flashlights, I believe it is incorrect to assume that you always need such a "good" (expensive?) flashlight, under any and all circumstances. In many situations an extremely low cost flashlight can work just fine, and in some situations you will greatly prefer to have a low cost flashlight readily available. (For example, if you wish to loan a flashlight to some relative, friend, neighbor or even a complete stranger.)

In another post I have presented the theory that it is "better" to purchase 10 x $4.00 Sipik SK68 clones, than 1 x $40.00 flashlight. (And certainly, 100 x $4.00 Sipik SK68 clones, rather than 1 x $400.00 flashlight!). My reasoning is that at the end of say ten years, you are far more likely to have a functioning flashlight if you start out with ten flashlights, rather than only one. (The better the flashlight, the more likely it is to be stolen. Any flashlight can be lost. All flashlights can fail... etc.)

Of course, everyone's needs are different. And, many on this forum are military, law enforcement, fire fighters and emergency services personnel who need the best quality flashlights on a daily basis. (Often their lives, and our lives, depend upon it.) However, for many of us "laymen" this simply not the case.
 
Last edited:

J_C

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
309
I think it may be well worth noting here, that even the same users can have a least two different types of "needs" when it comes to needing a flashlight.
In another post I have presented the theory that it is "better" to purchase 10 x $4.00 Sipik SK68 clones, than 1 x $40.00 flashlight. (And certainly, 100 x $4.00 Sipik SK68 clones, rather than 1 x $400.00 flashlight!). My reasoning is that at the end of say ten years, you are far more likely to have a functioning flashlight if you start out with ten flashlights, rather than only one. (The better the flashlight, the more likely it is to be stolen. Any flashlight can be lost. All flashlights can fail... etc.)

You might have better odds but then you may also be put in a situation where you are without light 6 times due to a generic failing. How many times might that leave you stuck on the side of a road unable to change a flat tire, or bashing your shin against something in the dark, or slipping and falling, or trying to get work done away from home and you now either have a need to bring redundant lights with you everywhere or spend more time and gas to make a trip out to a store to buy a temporary light, or any number of possibilities that didn't seem like a critical use beforehand?

You might have a backup light in your vehicle glove box, but what if you are riding in someone else's vehicle? It's not practical to assume you'll always have two lights on your person unless you don't mind carrying around so much stuff that you are wearing holes in your pockets... been there, at some point you can't carry redundant copies of everything.

I use a light on a regular basis, and have bought my share of generics. None have lasted more than a few dozen hours of use. Even my mere $20 EDC, ITP EOS A3 now has more working hours on it than 6 generic lights. Someday it could fail, and I would gladly pay $20 for another or even $40 for some other major brand.

My argument is that while there are both critical and casual uses, one light can handle both if it meets a certain quality level, a quality level rarely found in generics. To many people it is worth the cost of a few lunches to not be stuck in the dark as often.
 

Rosoku Chikara

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
606
Location
Niigata, Japan
I understand your points, but I still feel my reasoning stands. Please don't misunderstand me. I am not belittling good quality flashlights. I am simply trying to point out that some of the very low cost flashlights that are available, also have their practical uses.

...have bought my share of generics. None have lasted more than a few dozen hours of use...<snip>

What "generics" are you referring to? Have you ever tried a $4.00 Sipik SK68 clone?

(Low cost flashlights that don't work are not budget lights, or thing else; they are simply junk. Shop wisely, search for reviews and post questions on this forum, and try to avoid purchasing such useless flashlights. Believe me, there are plenty of junk flashlights out there, and we shouldn't "encourage them" by purchasing those products. Furthermore, just in case you suffer from the common misconception that somehow paying more for a flashlight assures you of getting a "better" product, please note that you can spend $49.90 for a Sipik SK68 clone under the name of a "Heider Super Torch." It is still the exact same flashlight as the $4.00 one, though.)

...Even my mere $20 EDC, ITP EOS A3 now has more working hours on it than 6 generic lights. Someday it could fail, and I would gladly pay $20 for another or even $40 for some other major brand...<snip>

I thoroughly researched AAA flashlights (at least to my satisfaction) and ended up purchasing 10 to test out first hand. Here they are:



I ended up concluding that the TANK007 E09 was essentially the same flashlight as the ITP EOS A3, but costs less at only $12.99 from Fastech. I have used mine nearly daily for years, and have purchased at least a dozen more to give away as gifts. Here is an EDC "gift set" that I often give to friends and clients:



So far, every TANK007 E09 that I have purchased has tested out perfectly in both performance and fit/finish. So, in my opinion, the question is: Why pay more?

Also, I always carry a 2 x AAA penlight in my backpack that serves as both a backup flashlight and a spare battery carrier.
 
Last edited:

J_C

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
309
So far, every TANK007 E09 that I have purchased has tested out perfectly in both performance and fit/finish. So, in my opinion, the question is: Why pay more?

The pictures say it all. You've collected flashlights but none of those have had much field use. I have never been referring to whether it looks pretty when brand new or works new out of the box. I'm referring to actually putting them to task, depending on them to keep working hour after hour, day after day. I doubt the Tank007's threads would even hold up to that many battery cycles.

On the other hand, if someone barely ever uses a light, sure any random generic will last a longer # of months to years before failure.
 

Rosoku Chikara

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
606
Location
Niigata, Japan
...On the other hand, if someone barely ever uses a light, sure any random generic will last a longer # of months to years before failure...<snip>

I am sorry to have to keep going "on-and-on" about the same subject, but you must not be reading my posts very closely.

The 10 AAA flashlights shown in the photo are indeed, pretty much still brand new. They are only used as a kind of "masterset" against which to compare other AAA flashlights.

But, as I wrote in my post, I always carry another TANK007 E09 with me every day (on my keychain), and it sees nearly daily use for peaking into dark nooks and locating keyholes, etc.

Not a single problem of any kind, so far. And, as I also wrote, I have now purchased over a dozen of these particular low cost flashlights, and they all came to me in fine condition.

Furthermore, despite the fact that I have offered a "full warranty" to everyone I have given one to (I tell them that if they will bring it back to me, I will gladly replace it.), so far, no one has ever brought one to back to me. (Perhaps my clients might hesitate to do so, but certainly none of my friends would.)

Once again, I repeat my question: What "generics" are you referring to? Have you ever tried a $4.00 Sipik SK68 clone (Given your rather dogmatic statements, I believe that these are highly relevant questions. Please kindly respond.)
 
Last edited:

Rosoku Chikara

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
606
Location
Niigata, Japan
...I doubt the Tank007's threads would even hold up to that many battery cycles...<snip>

Upon what facts are you basing this "doubt"? Here is a photo of the threads of both flashlights (TANK007 E09 & ITP EOS A3). Can you tell at a glance which is which?



The correct answer is: the ITP is on the left. The ITP seems to have very slightly higher thread pitch, but the TANK007 certainly more than makes up for that by having many more threads. They both operate very smoothly, and appear to be the product of good precision machining.

My camera cannot take any better close ups, but upon close and careful visual inspection in good light, my eyes (which are pretty good), cannot see any significant differences in thread profile. Both of these flashlight bodies are machined from the same aircraft-grade aluminum T6061.

Therefore, I see no factual basis whatsoever in your prognosis of early thread failure for the TANK007 E09.
 
Last edited:

J_C

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
309
Furthermore, despite the fact that I have offered a "full warranty" to everyone I have given one to (I tell them that if they will bring it back to me, I will gladly replace it.), so far, no one has ever brought one to me. (Perhaps my clients might hesitate to do so, but certainly none of my friends would.)

Once again, I repeat my question: What "generics" are you referring to? Have you ever tried a $4.00 Sipik SK68 clone (Given your rather dogmatic statements, I believe that these are highly relevant questions. Please kindly respond.)

Yes I've used a SK68 clone. The rear switch broke. It wasn't worth fixing, will be an LED and driver donor some day. I think it would be a fine light to leave sitting next to an electrical breaker box or a spare in a tool box, where it doesn't get used because my higher quality lights are always reached for first.

At this point my apathy will cause my retirement from the topic. I pay more so I don't have to deal with all the generics and I'm especially not going to go to even further hassle of remembering all the generic brands and models to list. The whole point is NOT to do any of this, not to buy, order, break, then discuss inferior lights that have already proven to me to be a false value for regular use.

I feel the same way about many items like pocket knives, other tools, clothing, etc. Give me quality over quantity. I only use one at a time.
 

Rosoku Chikara

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
606
Location
Niigata, Japan
...The rear switch broke. It wasn't worth fixing...<snip>

Did you take the switch apart and examine it? There really isn't anything in there to "break." (Much like ancient cars that almost "cannot be killed," the Sipik SK68 uses very simple parts, so short of electrical failure of the driver itself, there really isn't much in there that can truly go permanently wrong. Everything is extremely easy to take apart and put back together again.)

In any case, many many satisfied users will attest to the fact that they have used their Sipik SK68 and/or clone on a daily basis for years without switch failure. (I guess you must have gotten unlucky. Such things do happen. If the flashlight is DOA or fails within the first day or two, even those direct from China sellers are usually happy to send you a replacement for free.)

Anyway, let's just "agree to disagree" and call it a day.
 
Last edited:

BronzeLincolns

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
17
i certainly don't need all the things that my SRT7 can do. i bought it as an expensive toy. most would buy a flashlight of that quality because they really need it.

if $4 flashlight gives you all that you need in a flashlight then i would agree in saying why pay more?
 

danbi

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
8
I pay more so I don't have to deal with all the generics and I'm especially not going to go to even further hassle of remembering all the generic brands and models to list. The whole point is NOT to do any of this, not to buy, order, break, then discuss inferior lights that have already proven to me to be a false value for regular use.

I feel the same way about many items like pocket knives, other tools, clothing, etc. Give me quality over quantity. I only use one at a time.

As Rosoku Chikara already mentioned, this is an common misconception. You cannot buy quality with money. It is either there or it is not. If you see piece of junk, it does not matter if it costs $4, or $400 --- that is still an piece of junk. The observation that higher priced items have better quality is absolute nonsense, especially when talking about "chinese flashlights". Usually, the expensive "branded" piece and the "non name" piece are machined on the same equipment, in the same plant by the same worker. It just so happens, that one ends up in the bin for sale to "those guys from America who ordered that we stamp XYZ on it, and paid crazy money" --- while the other ends up in the bin "we need to sell this stuff". As you ca imagine (or probably, you can't), more attention will be paid later to sell the "other" bin items to happy buyers.

It is just a cultural difference. If, the $40 Sipik SK68 was made in Sweden and the $4 one in China, one could argue that perhaps, might be, the Swedish one could posses some nice qualities. Or at least some absurd attention to detail. But truth is, both are made in China. It is just that one is sold by a Chinese seller direct from factory at $4 (and no taxes of any kind paid in the chain), while the other one.. you know, feeds a lot of union leaders in the chain.

Sad reality.
 

Trevtrain

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
407
Location
Melbourne, Australia
As Rosoku Chikara already mentioned, this is an common misconception. You cannot buy quality with money. It is either there or it is not. If you see piece of junk, it does not matter if it costs $4, or $400 --- that is still an piece of junk. The observation that higher priced items have better quality is absolute nonsense, especially when talking about "chinese flashlights". Usually, the expensive "branded" piece and the "non name" piece are machined on the same equipment, in the same plant by the same worker. It just so happens, that one ends up in the bin for sale to "those guys from America who ordered that we stamp XYZ on it, and paid crazy money" --- while the other ends up in the bin "we need to sell this stuff". As you ca imagine (or probably, you can't), more attention will be paid later to sell the "other" bin items to happy buyers.

Sad reality.

Sorry but I disagree.

Some of what you say may be correct re products made on the same machines in the same factories but in general, there is very little quality control or attention to detail on most budget (eBay rubbish) lights. Some do not work at all straight out of the box and need to cleaned, lubed or soldered before even functioning at all. Thermal paste under the emitter is often missing completely or pills are hollow to save half a cent in material. Threads are crap, material is thin, anodising is simply paint, o-rings are missing, broken or wrongly sized, drivers are the cheapest 3 mode available, etc......

The whole "Budget" sub-community of flashlight junkies is aware of this which is why there is so much discussion around finding the little gems that can be "modded" into something more useful and satisfying.

Some will buy nothing less than Surefire, HDS, Malkoff, etc. For some of us, this is unaffordable and might not be good value for money.

But there are the likes of Fenix, Olight, Armtek, Thrunite and others - Chinese lights that cost a little more. To say that these lights (for which you pay a little more) are the same junk you can buy for $4 on eBay is absolute nonsense!

Unfortunately, the general public is not aware of any of this. What they get is ripped off by sellers making vastly inflated claims regarding output, beam and runtimes.

And that is what the OP was talking about when this thread started.
 

langham

Enlightened
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
441
Location
Tuscaloosa, AL
Yeah, but I mod a lot of cheap garbage lights and have had a lot of success. In fact there has only ever been one light that I got and didn't bother with, and it was one with a hollow pill as mentioned above. I was attempting to build a light with batteries and a charger for less than $20 for secret santa, didn't work out. I built someone a $15 drop in for a Surefire light and when I said that I always wanted a surefire he asked me why when I could make lights as bright as I do for so cheap. The truth is that I would love to have a Surefire for the above mentioned attention to detail and QC. They have wonderful anodizing that is top notch smooth and hard. That being said I own several Thrunite flashlights a Supbeam and some generic stuff, but no other expensive lights. I just can't justify the price tag. If you want quality you are going to have to do some modifying yourself. You can buy a Surefire if you want, but they have ancient leds that have poor lm/watt ratings. To the above guy with issues, I always advise that people make sure of a few things, fist that the tail switch isn't the problem. You do this by taking the tail switch off and using something to short the body to the - terminal of the battery. Then you make sure the battery isn't the problem. Then you take off the optics/reflector to ensure that nothing is shorting the led leads. And then you should take the pill out and ensure that the wires for the positive and negative are not shorted/broken. The pill itself may also not have a good connection to the negative, or the body. These steps normally help, and if they don't well a SPIK isn't all that expensive just buy 5 more.
 

RBWNY

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
374
That's why I always look at rating and review before buying things. I bought a "Ultrafire 1000 LM WF-502B CREE XM-L T6 5-Mode LED Flashlight Torch (With Batteries and Charger)" for under $15..so far very happy for the price. Also have another one coming without batteries for under $8. I'm sure this one will be fine too. So for around $22 I got 2 lights w/batteries and a charger. So far I gave the light 5 stars (can change it later if I have issues) even though I knew the claims are "exaggerated" about the batteries and lumens.

I would no more buy an Ultrafire battery & charging combo, than rent a camel and ride it to work everyday!

Every light I own is a name-brand $50+ light.

For a little while now, I've become interested in reading review posts from people who've bought Sipik's and Sipik clones. I've become absolutely amazed at the positive reviews they've received. They rave about how bright they are, even with just an alkaline battery...all the while ASSUMING they're looking at a 300lm beam! :shakehead They even marvel at the "square" zoomed-in effect of the LED! I keep asking myself, have they ever even SEEN the beam of a Fenix (or any other regular-priced flashlight) before? What are they comparing this inferior light with to even "think" that it's even worth a few dollars? Would they even know the difference between a $5 light or a $50 light if each hand held one?

Anyway, I saw a Sipik-type 300lm zoomable clone on Amazon for $4, which had over 1000 mostly positive reviews! It's in the mail to me now. I'm anxious to compare it to any 1 AA cell (comparable) light that I own. I want to prove to myself that either these lights are better than I assume, or that most of the reviewers don't have a CLUE as to what a quality flashlight looks or feels like.
 
Last edited:

uk_caver

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 9, 2007
Messages
1,408
Location
Central UK
Well, they could be comparing it with some ancient incan, or a N*5mm LED light they got free with five gallons of fuel, and they may be legitimately impressed and happy with it.

I can't expect other people to share my particular feelings towards lights.
I'm very headlamp oriented, and have personal requirements stressing durability/reliability, runtime, beamshape and controllability, but I'm not greatly bothered about cosmetics or immense output, or light weight.

Some people would get a genuine kick out of the quality feel of a perfectly-finished light, some people not so much.

Some people don't need a light they can particularly depend on.
Some people do, and might be able to get a more trustworthy light by paying for one, if they know the background of various brands and models.

Having said that, when it comes to Li-Ion cells of unknown quality and cheap chargers, maybe it's more a case of a Ford Pinto than a camel...
 

langham

Enlightened
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
441
Location
Tuscaloosa, AL
I don't like any stock chinese lights, but modded you can't tell the difference. For $50 I can make a light that you can not touch with a stock light of comparable size, of any price. The Thrunite Linx is almost and exception to this, because it has such a nice driver. Other than that though they are made out of solid aluminum and have nice pills usually the Spik's are good quality. The lens is plastic though so it does scratch. I have only owned a couple, but the little ones that run off of a AA are great. You can put a 14500 in most of those and get that 300lm mark that you are looking for, but they will get hot pretty quick.
 

Coldblooded357

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jul 11, 2011
Messages
5
Personally I usually choose lights in the $60 - $100 range. Fenix, zebra, nitecore. The reason is they're tough enough to be dropped a whole bunch and not break, blindingly bright, have a nice UI, are pocketable, have been 100% trustworthy so far, and are cheap enough that when the next led comes out or the tech gets smaller or whatever I can upgrade. Usually about once a year. Could I spend $300 per light? Sure but would that light be $240 better then my night core p12? Not a chance. As you get to the highest end gear the added functionality comes at an ever more expensive premium. I also have a light to use as an emergency self defense pocket stick. So if I have to pound someone with it I'd rather it be reasonably priced and easily replaceable. So basically it's because of the speed at which the tech is being developed and upgraded, and the exceptional value for the functionality you get in a "budget light" that I choose them.
Now take knives for example. Here is tech that's moving slowly. This is a place where I'll spend the $400 - whatever to have the best. My $400 busse combat TGLB is gonna be just as tough and sharp as the best knives available 10, 20, even 30 years from now. And for that added money I get a no questions asked lifetime of the KNIFE warrenty. So basically if my kid breaks it 50 years from now because he decides to pound it through a railroad track with a sledge hammer busse will give him a brand new one. Give me that type of warrenty and longevity and sure I'll fork over even an extra $500 for the best. But with the way things are moving I'll stick to my "budget" lights.
 

langham

Enlightened
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
441
Location
Tuscaloosa, AL
I see your point Coldblooded, I personally don't like to get the newest and best flashlight. I like the ones that I have so I just upgrade the ones that I have. There aren't very many flashlights out there that I think would be worth spending more than $200 on. I like having cool lights as much as the next guy, but count me out for the more expensive lights. I like my cheaper lights more anyway, they just feel more manageable.
 
Top